Declining Sunday Mass Attendance & Fallen-away Catholics

By Deacon John Lorenzo

In a recent article concerning the July 2017 Orlando Bishop’s Convocation, a topic was brought up in a morning plenary session: Former and fallen-away Catholics. At that session, a very revealing comment was made:   “The millions who are not active, that is a real concern.”

I believe the person who made that comment must have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to expose a dilemma in the Catholic Church, millions of fallen-away Catholics; that is rarely discussed. Sunday Mass attendance has steadily declined from 80% in 1950 to 20% today.

Before the next generation is lost and/or given a chance to stop the decline, its cause and solution must be determined and addressed. In addition, the solution must include the focus on saving souls, getting from this life to the next, eternal life in Heaven. The solution must also be practical, measurable, being able to deal with thousands of souls simultaneously, the participation of all parishioners who attend Sunday Mass every week, cooperation from the Clergy and Providential, to be successful.

The solution must be addressed as a twofold dilemma. First, in stopping the exodus from the Church and secondly, being able to save the souls of those who have already left the Church. The most serious problem revolves around disobeying God’s 4th Commandment, to keep holy the Sabbath Day. This is causing many parishioners to commit a mortal sin that they believe is not mortal. The Church surely knows of this false belief and rarely, if ever, says anything. 

There are many reasons why Catholics leave the Church and because of this phenomenon, it tells us that there is a core reason why so many are leaving the Church. I believe, the overall cause  for leaving the Church lies in flawed faith formation; from when an infant is Baptized and through the formation years of primary and secondary schooling in a Catholic School and CCD Programs. Part of this formation to be successful must include, for all school children, weekly Sunday Mass attendance and reception of the Eucharist. In addition, some form of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament must be provided for the children to be taught and understand the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The foundation of the Church lies in the hands of the children whose Catholic identity must not be flawed to stop the exodus. Today’s children are not being given a fair chance of becoming true believers of the Church because those who control their destiny, their parents, the clergy and the school/CCD teachers compromise what is necessary to develop true believers in Jesus Christ and His Church.

The Catholic path to Heaven and Eternal Life is attending Sunday Mass every week and receiving the Eucharist. If this Catholic practice is not adhered to during a child’s life, the tendency will be to consider the Church or the Eucharist not important or necessary when they are adults.

The Church tells parents the obligation of having their children attend Sunday Mass every week. Since this obligation is not normally enforced by the Church, most children do not attend Sunday Mass regularly or at all. This one flaw in a child’s faith formation, if not corrected, will probably result in a fallen away Catholic even though the child receives the sacraments of Reconciliation, Communion and Confirmation. The sad fact is that the child’s best chance of getting to Heaven was taken away without their comprehending the importance of Sunday Mass and the Eucharist; or their parents knowledge of its need and benefit for their child’s eternal life with God.

Since the Church cannot force the parents to take their child to Church every Sunday, the obligation must be addressed by the Church on behalf of the child’s spiritual benefit. The Church must at least speak to the parents of the consequences of the child possibly losing their gift of inheritance to Heaven given at Baptism.

In addition to teaching the importance of Sunday Mass attendance and receiving the Eucharist,  the Church must review all aspects of faith formation being used to assure all teaching leads to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The children, by obeying God’s 3rd commandment “To keep holy the Sabbath Day” and receiving the body and blood of His Son will eventually stop the exodus from the Church because of the love and influence of God.

Considering all the above, what must be taught, preached and made clear to all children, their parents and all the faithful by the Church, is the consequence of intentionally not attending Sunday Mass every week because it is a grave sin that must be confessed to a priest to receive absolution. This sin is grave even if it is not believed to be grave.

Because of God’s love for us, He gave us a free will to accept what the Church teaches or we can do what we believe is the truth. We can believe that our God is so merciful, that He would never send a soul to Hell for intentionally not attending Sunday Mass. But what if you’re wrong in what you believe and not what the Church teaches and you end up in Hell? Why would anyone risk losing their inheritance to heaven and eternal life with its Creator because of not wanting to spend one hour a week with the one who gave us life? The Devil is cunning and deceiving and this is exactly what he wants us to believe. Percentage wise, there are probably more souls in Hell who believed that sinning against God’s 3rd commandment is not mortal. Just think of what is happening in the Catholic Church today, 80% of those who were baptized choose to separate themselves from their God and the Eucharist on the Sabbath day.

The following article describes a serious problem:

Souls Perish for Lack of Knowledge!

From Courageous Priest – Posted: 13 Oct 2017 04:35 AM PDT

The Church is Ready to Capsize!

By Fr. Daniel Doctor,

The Roman Catholic Church, that is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is the Bride of Jesus Christ.  This Church was established by Christ Himself to be the sole means of salvation for all of humanity. As Catholics, we know of no other way to salvation except through the sacramental system established by Christ and given to His Apostles.

Why is the Catholic Church in Near Chaos and Confusion?

Careful analysis of recent studies and polls taken among Catholics reveals that an overwhelming majority of U.S. Catholics simply do not believe in the Devil, or sin, or it’s logical consequences – eternal damnation in hell.  As we can see, with any kind of a reasonable observation of that, the outcome is that the Church is in a state of near chaos and confusion over what She teaches and what She does not teach.  The overriding reason for this is because bishops, the clergy, teachers and parents, have completely failed in their duties to transmit the Faith to each of the successive past four generations.  And there are huge consequences for this failure.


About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Pavel Faigl says:

    You would have to look (I speak to the Church officials) for the real culprit: quality of the education. Not as transmitting knowledge but as forming a well grounded pupil/student. Here the catholic schools failed spectacularly. U might be very surprised to find better moral standards and instructions in Christian and Buddhist schools (even in Moslem schools for that matter) than in the (once so well regarded) Catholic schools. Good luck with fixing this problem, prelates!

  2. sixupman says:

    My bishop’s church closure programme and amalgamations is put down to demographic change – certainly not the absence of Catholicism being taught and fostered at every level, coupled to a de facto preaching of equivalence with all faiths. He is also promoting the laity to a status to which they are not entitled.

  3. Mary Ann Parks says:

    Shrinking, except daily Mass. At all parishes I visit. So the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

Comments are closed.